The C-Section side effect that no one talks about.

Nicola Moriarty with her daughter, Maddie.


I never read What To Expect When You’re Expecting. And yet when I fell pregnant, I had a lot of expectations.

I expected a smooth pregnancy, where I felt endearingly weak and ill for the first three months and then the remaining six months, I glowed.

I expected a problem-free birth, with candles, music and long meaningful looks between my husband and I. I expected to wince with pain, but to grit my teeth as I shook my head ‘no’ to the drugs on offer.

And I expected to take my new baby into my arms after a respectable three to four hour labour, smile lovingly at her and begin my journey of motherhood with complete confidence and grace.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Lights by Tena. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

But rarely do these types of things go to plan. In the scheme of things, my pregnancy was pretty good – a few UTIs and morning sickness that was more like all-day sickness and lasted the entire nine months – but no major hiccups. The birth however, was far from problem-free. Turns out I didn’t have the uncanny tolerance for pain that I had weirdly expected.

I screamed, I swore and when the midwife suggested the epidural, I nodded my head in defeat. God only knows what I was trying to prove without it anyway.

But that’s when things went really wrong. They realised my baby was in distress, her heart rate was dropping and the decision was made that she needed to get out – now. I was prepped for a caesarean and there was no time for the epidural. I was put under a general anaesthetic and woke hours later with a dry mouth, a foggy head and no knowledge of the whereabouts or state of health of my baby.

When I finally met my daughter, I was confused, groggy and teary. I cried when they handed her to me, but I can’t say that it was tears of happiness, rather it was the tears of someone who was overwhelmed, distraught and in shock.

I really didn’t know what to expect after a c-section. I hadn’t listened during the antenatal classes when the midwife spoke about the after effects of a caesarean. I was too busy being smug about my imagined perfect birth. I was extraordinarily naïve.

“I really didn’t know what to expect after a c-section.”

I had no idea I wouldn’t be allowed to drive for six weeks, I didn’t expect to feel so trapped inside my home, unable to pop out, even for a carton of milk without someone else there to drive me.

I didn’t expect the level of post surgery pain and I didn’t realise how important it was to keep up with the pain medication, even when I thought I was doing well.

I didn’t expect to have such poor pelvic floor muscles – especially considering I hadn’t even given birth the ‘traditional’ way. I remember visiting my obstetrician for my six week post birth check-up. He gave me an internal examination. ‘Squeeze your pelvic floor’, he told me. I hesitated, ‘I already am.’

And I didn’t expect for this to mean that I no longer had complete control of my bladder. The first time I went to the gym and attempted a combat class, I was shocked when I jumped into the air and immediately sensed a slight leak.

Of course, it wasn’t the sort of accident my toilet training three year old now has. No one in the room was any the wiser – but my face still flushed red and I escaped to the bathroom feeling anxious and embarrassed.

It’s now been six years since my first pregnancy. Over the years, I’ve gone through stages where I would religiously complete my pelvic floor exercises, and stages where I would forget altogether.

I went backwards again after giving birth a second time, but a little while later, I became determined. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfect yet, but I’m much improved – and when a new trampolining fitness centre opened up in our area, I didn’t cringe at the thought of trying out some of their classes – I signed up instead.

Flick through more funny things that you never expect, when you’re expecting…

Have you ever done something that ended up being completely different to what you expected it would be? How did you cope with the surprise?


Australian females are highly reluctant to talk about the’ little problem they don’t have,’ so lights by TENA® have launched an educational campaign to help women understand the problem, and empower them with the tools to overcome it.

We want to inspire and encourage you to make a little effort each day to strengthen your pelvic floor so that your light bladder leaks become less frequent, less serious, or even stop completely.

We don’t really want you to be a customer for life, because we’ve seen the impact that it can have.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to make life easier with products that are more effective, less intrusive and more discreet. Products that are better solutions than ‘make do’ options, and that come in packaging you won’t be embarrassed to put in your supermarket basket. Because while you’re getting your light bladder leaks under control, you don’t want the whole world to know about it.

The lights by TENA range is specially designed for light bladder leaks. They are surprisingly thin, yet absorb faster than most period liners.

What makes lights by TENA special?

o    Fresh Fast Crystals which are ultra-absorbing, to quickly lock away moisture and neutralise odour.

o    Surprisingly thin, with contoured body shape for a better fit.

o    Quick dry top sheet that keeps you fresh.

Whether it’s a few drops here and there, or more than a little dribble, there’s a lights by TENA liner that’s right for you.

Available at Woolworths, Coles and IGA.